Wednesday Box Office Analysis
By Reagen Sulewski
July 1, 2004
Spinning a web any size isn't the only impressive feat that Spider-Man can perform. Also in his abilities is setting box office records for the second film in a row.
With the help of the midnight screenings that are de rigeur for all blockbusters these days, Spider-Man 2's first day total reached a height that befits a superhero known for being Amazing. Its $40.4 million is a record Wednesday number, eclipsing that of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($34.1 million) and it is arguably the largest opening day ever. The Matrix Reloaded has a bit of a claim on that figure still, though its $42.5 million opening Thursday figure includes screenings from a rump Wednesday.
Compared to the first Spider-Man, Spidey 2 only slightly beats the original for opening day, as that film had set a then-record $39.4 million and then followed it up with a $43.6 million Saturday. The Wednesday figure is either fourth or fifth all-time (again, depending on how you count the Matrix figure) and at this point it's a bit like splitting hairs as far as the rankings of these days. The one day total is more than all but seven films in 2004 earned in their entire first weekends.
While it's too early to declare exactly what this means for the weekend's final total, it clearly indicates that Spider-Man 2 is the blockbuster that everyone was expecting. Combining this with the ecstatic word-of-mouth it is already receiving and we could be looking at more records being broken in the next few days.
Despite a partial expansion of a few hundred theaters, Michael Moore's polemic on the Bush administration was not able to battle off the demand for the masked web-slinger. No one expected the film to be even remotely in the same orbit as Spider-Man of course, but even with a 25% expansion, its Wednesday figure was off about 11% from Tuesday. This isn't particularly cause for alarm, as this is par for the course when new mega-opener comes to town, and 9/11 is scheduled to pick up another 600 screens for Friday.
Every other holdover felt the pinch as well, falling from 15% to 22% off their Tuesday totals. Expect these films to reover slightly as we move into the weekend proper. One notable milestone still ocurred among these films as Shrek 2 passed the $400 million mark in its 43rd day, breaking the record of Spider-Man and Titanic at 66 days. The next few days will show us if Shrek is likely to keep this record or will quickly hand it back over to a Spider-Man film.